Friday, February 12, 2010

The Office, "Manager and Salesman": The ol' switcheroo

A review of last night's "The Office" coming up just as soon as you let me handle the Tolkien references...

Okay, at what point do I need to start worrying about the state of the series? I've enjoyed a number of episodes this season - not just Jim and Pam's weddding, but "The Lover" and "Murder" and several others - but there have also been some really dire ones ("Mafia" may have been the worst episode since the pilot).

More troubling, though, has been the execution (or lack thereof) of the story arcs, and the way a number of characters have been written. Jim and Michael as co-managers never amounted to anything and has now been dropped. Dwight and Ryan's plan to sabotage Jim was both over-the-top and a lobotomizing of Ryan. (He's a lazy d-bag, but he's not remotely as stupid as he came across last night.) I love the Andy/Erin non-relationship, but now it feels like it's being dragged out simply because Jim and Pam took forever to hook up, and not because it's still funny that neither one can just tell the other that they like them.

And two episodes into the Dunder-Mifflin Sabre(*) storyline, I'm not feeling like there's a real sense of purpose to it in the way that Ryan's promotion, or Charles Miner's arrival had. Kathy Bates gets to come in and play her character from "Primary Colors" again, and Jim goes back to being a salesman - and much too quickly, as I think there was at least another episode or three's worth of mileage out of Michael being a regular employee again and Jim having to manage him - but like so much of this season, it seems like a rehash of things the show has done before, and better.

(*) So when Andy and Erin did their "Dunder Mifflin and Sob-Ray" song last week, I had somehow managed to avoid having ever heard the song it was based on, Miley Cyrus' "Party in the USA." Then the next night I took my daughter to a father-daughter dance at her school, and they played it, and now I can not get that damn chorus out of my head, and Andy and Erin's version kept playing on a loop whenever anyone last night mentioned "Sabre."

On the plus side, I laughed a lot at the punchline to the teaser, and I enjoyed Jim dealing with Erin having spent too long as an assistant to Michael Scott. And Jim dunking Dwight's tie at episode's end was a nice reminder that it's funnier to see the two of them go after each other when they're equals, as opposed to when Jim is Dwight's superior (as he's technically been since the season 3 branch merger).

But after loving most of last season, I'm starting to get really frustrated with where this season is going (or not going).

What did everybody else think?

65 comments:

MIchael said...

Of my three levels of TV Watching

(1. Live TV - Sports, Lost
2.DVR - Top Shows
3.Accidental Live Viewing - Infrequent)

The Office is in danger of being dropped off the DVR.

Joseph Thomson said...

Is it maybe time that 'The Office' should wrap up before it becomes irrepairably damaged?

I would like to see them finish it before it becomes the lame show I can see it becoming.

Brian J said...

I thought that they could have wrung a couple of more episodes worth of material out of Michael being a regular salesman again. After all, despite his other faults, he's always been good at getting deals done, and if he was absolutely destroying everyone else, it would have been interesting to see the reactions of everyone else.

I didn't think this episode or last week's were great, but I did like them and am eager to see what they have in mind. I always suspected that they would be bought out by some other company, although I thought it would be something like UPS so that Dunder Mifflin would be to that company what Kinko's was toe FedEx. But as Kathy Bates' character said last night, D-M does have a reach into a lot of pockets of the Northeast. And as David Wallace said in the Christmas episode, D-M was being bought for the distribution. I'd suggest that the great incentives program Sabre has to offer could lead into an expanded workforce in Scranton, but I am not sure if the budget for the series would allow that to happen.

As far as Andy and Erin, I don't think it's being dragged out for too long. (If they are still in the same positions next season, my opinion will change.) Andy sending out a card that would have been perfect for Erin but Kelly getting it and reading WAY too much into it was perfectly in character, I thought.

Oh yeah, what about Todd Packer? We haven't heard from this traveling salesman in a while, I think, and with all of the changes, you'd think he'd come up at some point.

The one big problem I had with the episode was that the explanation for why there were two managers was pretty simple: they effectively combined two offices (Scranton and Buffalo) but decided to use about half the staff. That may not be a good reason to have two managers, but it's not as if it was some tradition that was never touched. Or did they say this and I missed it/

Zach said...

The episode was pretty crummy, I agree. Not exactly sure what's happening with the Sabre deal either. I'm assuming this is it for Kathy Bates and the office is just going to go ahead with selling printers. Okay.

Personally thought the end was perfect though. It was kind of like the creators realized Jim as manager isn't as much fun as Jim as a salesman, so him dunking Dwight's tie brought us back to the good old episodes.

However, I am so inclined to agree that next season should be the final one. Steve Carell aged out of this show a while ago, and all the cast members seem to have decent story arcs built around them. An end date might be in their best interest to install.

Josh said...

I guess I'll be the first dissenter; maybe it's because I almost prefer the status quo (or something close to it), but I really enjoyed this episode. Though it would've been interesting to see Michael as a regular salesman for more than part of an episode, it makes sense to me that a) he would lash out as quickly as possible, and b) Kathy Bates would be as uninterested in the issue as possible, just wanting it to be resolved.

What intrigues me is the idea that Sabre may be around for a while; whether Bates shows up as often as, say, David Wallace ever did or not seems superfluous; if Sabre leaves the show, who controls Dunder Mifflin? It just seems likely that the company (and her subordinate, fresh from In The Loop) will be around for a while. If anything, the ending of the episode made me hope that the show would bring back some of the Jim/Dwight rivalry of the old days.

Also, regarding Ryan, I think that the writers have established, over the last two seasons, that the Ryan of the first three seasons is forever gone, thanks to his quick and failed power trip.

In general, this season has not been perfect (I would go as far to say that Mafia may be the worst episode of the series), but this episode and arc intrigue me.

Josh said...

I guess I'm the second dissenter; @Brian J beat me to it (and to being on the side of the Andy/Erin relationship continuing its awkward route).

Dave B said...

After being let down by several episodes this season, I thought this was a return to form. Best one in a long time. I laughed a lot.

I do agree the show is probably nearing its end point, though. Much as I love the characters, I think we've seen just about all they have to offer. I'm hoping next season brings a burst of fresh energy. Otherwise, let it go.

Sonia said...

I still laughed, but it was not that strong of an episode. Especially since in syndication they are showing eth re-runs of the lead up to TMSPC -- which was just brilliant in comparison.

forg/jecoup said...

I feel that this episode is a step to the right direction, I also felt disappointed so far this season.

Anyway. The Office is the only sitcom on NBC bringing in the ratings(30 Rock would have been canceled by now without The Office)and if NBC still couldn't find a hit next season it is safe to assume that The Office will still be on air for at least 3 more seasons. I wouldn't mind it as long as the writers could find a way to freshen up the show. I'm optimistic :)

Spot said...

Disappointing season, but this one was a highlight, as were the other Kaling-written episodes this year (the wedding and the Christmas eps).

Jobin said...

I think that for the most part, The Office has been the least funny show on NBC Thursday nights. But I have to say, I find Ellie Kemper absolutely adorable in her role.

Robert Dunder said...

I agree. Ellie Kemper is the only reason I still watch at all.

belinda said...

I thought this episode was better than the last batch of episodes we've gotten, even though now that you mention it - it is kind of playing a lot of the same beats as older seasons did. And it was very silly to rush through what could have been a hilarious run of Michael being the salesman and Jim being the manager for just a little while. Ah, I do miss the days of Holly and MSPC though.

But for now, I'm still loving the whole Erin/Andy thing, especially with the inclusion of Kelly in this episode (really liked her flirty bit to Andy in the middle there), so I don't mind that thye're dragging it out for little.

I still think it would have been more interesting if Sabre people really like Michael and his antics in the office(which would be a contrast of Michael's bosses) than having them play the same annoyance that David Wallace, or Jan, or Stringer Bell had for Michael.

P&R and Community has become the go to comedies I turn to first on Thursdays for a while now, but at least The Office is still ahead of 30 Rock.

Mark S. said...

I agree with you and told my wife that I'm giving the show until the end of the season to get better or I'm done watching it.

Pam and Jim are no longer funny. Michael has been over the top for so long that the writers are having trouble coming up with new things for him. And the rest of the cast seem lobotomized into incoherence.

The writers need to figure out where they are going with this show and quickly.

Manny said...

I'm no critic, so all this deep insightfulness into the story line and what-nots is above me. That's why I like to read Alan, because you point out things I'd never pick up on my own.

That being said, The Office has been far and away my favorite show since I first watched it. It's a romantic comedy at its soul.

Honestly, had the series ended at their wedding I would have been very satisfied as a fan. That's all I ever wanted to see, Jim and Pam together.

So now that they are together, it has been hard to watch at times. I wouldn't say any one episode was horrible, though. I always laughed at them. The clip show, for one, I could have done without.

That being said, last night's episode had me grinning ear-to-ear the whole way through. Andy and Erin are the new Jim and Pam, to me. They're extremely cute and if the rest of the season has some focus on them, I'd have no issue with that.

The end is near for this shoe, but I don't want it just yet.

Jim said...

I liked it, I liked Kathy Bates and would've liked to see her interact with the regulars more (Move along, little onion, you're pickin' a chair, not gettin' married). But the Michael/Jim situation was resolved too quickly, and badly. And I was waiting for someone, Pam, Phyllis, an exasperated Stanley, to just say out loud that Andy likes Erin. As for Ryan, I'm okay with him being stupid. He's funnier that way. He's been steadily regressing since his arrest/move back to Scranton.

Linda said...

Maybe it's because I have been bored by absolutely everything they've done with Jim as co-manager or manager, and have felt that Krasinski has no idea how to bring any of the lightness and mischief to Manager Jim that he brought to Salesman Jim, but I was super-relieved to see him back at his desk, and I actually liked this one.

It doesn't bother me that much that this is Kathy Bates doing what she usually does; she's good at it, so it's okay with me, and I enjoyed her.

I was encouraged by it. Not great, but I feel like they're going in the right direction, and if making Jim not the manager means we get rid of the Ryan/Dwight plotting, which has also done nothing for me, I'm optimistic.

jcpdiesel21 said...

I like both Andy and Erin as characters, and their coupling has definite potential, but the road to said coupling has been been dragging out too long. I don't even understand what the misunderstanding was between them in this episode. If Andy accidentally gave Kelly the card he meant to give Erin, that makes sense, but when Erin opened her Snoopy/Woodstock card, Andy didn't react like she had gotten the wrong one, so I didn't know what to make of that at all.

I also thought a lot more could have come from Michael being a salesman again. I thought it would last for at least a couple of episodes.

This season has been disappointing. If I'm not enjoying it more by the time it wraps up, I think I'm done watching this show. Hopefully the writers have another "Michael Scott Paper Company" twist up their sleeves to re-energize the show like they did last season.

Robin said...

I thought last night's ep was better than last week's. I agree that getting Jim back into the sales role should be an improvement. Especially if they use the unlimited commissions as a way to amp up the competition between him and Dwight. Add Pam and Phyllis competing for sales, and you might get some classic scenes.

My biggest problem with the Sabre ark has been Kathy Bates. I generally like her, but her work her has screamed "sweeps guest star" to me on levels not seen since 30Rock had Oprah and Jennifer Anniston. It was distracting. Although I did love the little onion line.

JanieJones said...

After the power being out for 30+ hours due to all the snow, The Office was the first show I saw in several days.
I have to agree with those who said this episode was a step in the right direction. I have been fairly disappointed with this season with a few exceptions.
I definitely enjoy Ellie Kemper being on the show.
I also seem to enjoy Mindy's writing more often than not.
I felt Jim dunking Dwight's tie in his coffee was a twinkle of the good days of The Office.
Michael as a salesman could have been milked for several more episodes but I'm happy Jim is back to sales (hopefully return to old form).
Michael's new sale to Curves referring to it as gentleman's club that would better suit Kevin made me laugh because of what Curves really is IRL. Only Michael would be so clueless and somewhat insensitive.
However, there doesn't appear to be a clear symmetry of what is happening within this show. Sabre has taken over. Ryan and Dwight are plotting what? to torture Jim. Pam is having an elongated pregnancy.
I have higher expectations for this show, even though it's aged.

Anonymous said...

why they wouldnt let it play out where jim has to manage michael for 3 ep's is beyond me

Andrew said...

I'm surprised that Jim and manager/Michael as salesman reverted to status quo by the end of the episode. Having D-M under new ownership and the branch under Jim's, rather than Michael's management could have led to real drama and humor. It seems like a big missed opoprtunity.

Moshen Family said...

You really can't compare Andy & Erin with Jim & Pam because there's no added drama of Pam's (initial) loyalty to Roy, which clearly prohibited their relationship. Andy & Erin are just each awkward and clueless, and that only goes so far. Enough already.

Also, the best episodes were always about the interplay between Michael's idiocy and the staff. Now, the staff either have their own boring story lines or have been all but erased. Oscar? Meredith? Stanley? Anyone out there?

Finally, without Jim as a counter-weight, Dwight has become just a fully spiteful, nasty monster, with no humanity.

The show's over folks, the fat lady has sung. Now Steve Carrel can go off and make more bad comedies.

christy said...

I liked this episode, but it is amazing to think that just last season rivaled season 2 as their best ever. This show feels like a show that has been "just OK" for a while now, even though it's not. It happened so fast. I hope it can recover as quickly.

Maybe it's partly because of how often reruns are running now.

Anyway, I did like Kathy Bates. I like how Dwight can transition from ridonk to reasonable (like being totally OK with Phyllis's issue because she sent an email about it). LOVE Erin.

Col Bat Guano said...

Season 6 has had a real bipolar feel for me. Niagara, Murder and The Lover were all top notch episodes while Mafia and Scott's Tots were some of the worst ever broadcast. This one fell on the good side of the scale, far better than last weeks, and putting Jim back as a salesman with higher pay was a satisfying resolution to the rather lame co-mananger plot. I have a feeling that we may see some more development on that front later in the season as Dunder Mifflin gets more integrated into Sabre.

I absolutely do not care about the Andy/Erin plotline and the ridiculous roadblocks they keep running into. I found the Jim/Pam stuff of S3 to be a bit drawn out at times and this WTWT plot is playing for a lot lower stakes than that.

Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I don't like the episodes where Michael is just a selfish, whiny baby saying "Me, me, me" the whole time, so didn't like this at all. Granted, Jim wanted the commissions from being a salesman, too, but at least he wasn't being a jerk about it.

They easily could have stretched that plotline out a bit longer (for example, see Newsradio where Dave and Lisa battle it out for office boss).

The weird thing about this show becoming stall, as people are pointing out, is that they STILL HAVE UNTAPPED RESOURCES IN THE OFFICE TO EXPLORE!!! As the show finds it harder and harder to come up with new, interesting ideas for Jim and Pam, Michael, Dwight, and Andy they've neglected to give us MORE CREED, Meredith, Stanley, Darryl, Kelly, and Toby. I know they may work better in small doses, but it seems like we're getting even less of the rest of the staff involved compared to earlier seasons when they weren't running out of ideas.

I did like, "Did you see Saw?"
"Of course, Mos and I seesaw all the time."
"No, the movie, did you see the movie Saw?"

Anonymous said...

7 minutes after I thought there was going to be some fresh new material, they switched Michael back to manager. Seriously? Now we're right back where we started with the same old plot lines. Michael as salesman was a comic goldmine, at least for a few episodes. So disappointed.

Isaac Lin said...

Though I agree there was untapped comedic potential there, I can deal with funny elements that leave some humour on the table, rather than plain unfunny stuff. Most nights there are still enough laughs for me to enjoy (Scott's Tots being a notable exception). Regarding the season overall, last season (where the writers did a masterful job of pulling all the strings at just the right moment) built up enough goodwill that I can forgive somewhat less perfect work this season.

Chris said...

Good show. Might have been fun to have Michael be a salesman for awhile, but life goes on.

I do feel that some folks might be investing too much of themselves into a television comedy.

JS said...

I expected that Michael and Jim would switch back to their original jobs, but was hoping it would take a few episodes to reach that point. I wanted to see Jim miserable in a job he no longer wanted, making even less money; and I wanted to see Michael miserable at a "level" he outgrew a decade ago.

I agree the show is hit-and-miss this season, but The Office is going to be around until Steve Carrell decides to leave the show. Even then I can see NBC trying to keep it going with a new boss.

And I loved that Kelly popped back into the story last night, just as self-obsessed as always. She always is good for a few laughs.

DolphinFan said...

I haven't liked either the Jim/Michael co-manager storylines or the Dwight's Diabolical Plan idiocy (which was made worse when they brought Ryan into it here), but that's why I really liked this episode: good shows when know to fold stories that just don't work and try try again. So we end up here with Michael getting his private space and (pathetically limited) power back, Jim being able to (potentially) make the bigger bucks (that were the lure to originally agree to be co-manager with someone like Michael) he wanted for himself and Pam and their incoming baby, and Dwight thinking his DP overthrew Jim just as much as Michael was convinced he saved Scranton back in Season 3 just by waiting outside of David Wallace's house. Even Andy got the slowly churning hamster wheels inside his head revved up enough to shoot down Kelly's misunderstanding and make it clear that he likes Erin.
Season 6 has had some good points, which have been smothered by the stuff that simply didn't work. A reboot episode like this one was much welcome, and I look forward to seeing what they do once the Vancouver Olympics are over. I feel better about March and everything after in Scranton than I did on Wednesday, put it that way.

njames said...

Here's the problem with getting Erin & Andy together quickly. If they do that, where does she go from there? She has absolutely NO character built other than being the secretary who basically wants to make everyone happy. They didn't even give her talking head segments until recently (even though she'd been on for quite some time at that point). So she'd basically go from being the doting secretary to the doting gf of Andy. Anybody agree?

I for one am glad that Jim is back as salesman. The writers made him an IDIOT once he became a manager (which 100% goes against the intelligent character they created the first 3-4 seasons).

Salesman Jim would have figured Dwight was screwing things up with that "Employee of the Month"; but manager Jim was baffled. Salesman Jim would have explain to Sabre that the reason there were two of them was because 3 or 4 branches were combined and handled by them, so two managers were needed to handle those 4 branches; manager Jim's answer made them sound like it was no reason co-management.

Now maybe he can go back to actually being smart. Here's hoping.

That said, I loved the ep. I enjoyed how an elevator ride was long enough to break up months of the Dwight/Ryan partnership.

One more thing: What was the point to the cold open? It seemed like it didn't have one. Was it simply to show Michael working so hard to prove he had reservations only to get charged to cancel - when he wouldn't have been charged at all had he not fought it, since they lost his info? That didn't work for me.

Steve said...

Kathy Bates gets to come in and play her character from "Primary Colors" again

I AM A GAY LESBIAN WOMAN! I DO NOT MYTHOLOGIZE THE MALE SEXUAL ORGAN!

Billiam said...

In response to what njames said about Erin, we do need to get a little backstory on her (though I am loving her awkwardly eager-to-please personality). It's not too much of a spoiler to say that her backstory is going to be fleshed out some soon, is it?

srpad said...

This was the best episode of the show in weeks. And that worries me because it wasn't that good.

I think the creators put Jim back as salesman because they know the show works better that way and wanted things to go back asap.

Anonymous said...

I've been very disappointed by the last few weeks, but was very pleased with last night's episode and thought it marked something of a return to form. I liked the writers telling us through Kathy Bates that they also reconginzed that the co-manager stuff wasn't working. I thought Dwight and Ryan were funny and Erin and Andy were good too, although I agree that that storyline might be going on a little long. Maybe I missed some sort of explanation, but isn't andy's hesitation with Erin, a strong contrast to his relentless pursuit of Angela, basically begging her for a date?

PK said...

njames: "What was the point to the cold open? It seemed like it didn't have one."

I think it was to remind viewers that the Olympics begin Friday on NBC.

JamesG said...

No mention of the Michael Scott reference to Joe Camel? I thought his mistaken observations were hilarious.

I thought this episode was decent overall, but I get the same kind of feeling that I did during season 3 of LOST -- the writers have no idea where this show is headed. The Sabre acquisition so far seems just like the MSPC and Stringer Bell additions from last season -- just something to create a plotline for a few episodes before everything returns to normal again.

I do think the Andy/Erin storyline is enjoyable, but Ryan's character is completely worthless at this point. He should have left the show at the end of season 4.

Personally, I'd like to see this season go the route of season 2 of the UK Office. The new Sabre brass see just how incompetent Michael is, and he's fired by the season's end. Let next season start post-documentary airing (as they have been taping it for 6 years now) and have it conclude the show. I don't think The Office has enough steam left for countless new seasons.

Anonymous said...

Unlike some of you fine folks, I can't stand Erin. Making every andy scene about her is something I don't care for. I think it's odd michael would care so much about making more money that he would give up being manger, and then going back to it after 5 hours. Lots of things aren't paying off like they did in the past. It seemed e dry move had a payoff down the line, and lately things just reset

tribalism said...

Even though the premise of the series always seems to revert back to its foundation, I still give credit to the show for being so willing to cultivate (Jim/Pam; Andy/Erin) or destroy (Dwight/Angela/Andy; Michael/Holly) relationships in ways that appear to be permanent. Speaking of which, the Andy and Kelly relationship (Kandy, if you will) had the potential to be the most annoying coupling ever. Sure, both those characters are consistent when it comes to making me laugh (“Do you realize how hard that makes me like you, Andy?”), but I don’t think I could have withstood the mutual co-dependency that would have enveloped everyone around them if they got together.

If anyone is interested, you can find more of my thoughts about the latest episode in my blog. Click my username for the link.

Chazz Goodtimes said...

Alan I cannot agree more on Kathy Bates dusting off her character from Primary colors- to the point where I was trying to figure out if she had the dogs in the movie as well (she didn't). Just seems lazy by either the writers, her, or both.

The episode was entertaining enough but there is definitely a reason why the Office is the last show I get to from my Thursday night DVR que every time. I definitely saw a return to the status quo coming, as I'm sure many did, and I'm left dissapointed. All the big events that they try to get the viewer excited about just don't mean anything anymore since almost always the Office structure doesn't change (Pam / Erin being the exception). This would be fine if the show didn't take itself as seriously as it does. Always Sunny can forever revert back to 4 coniving slackers in a bar but if the Office wants us to care about the dramatic events of the show there needs to be some type of payoff.

tony libido said...

The show's become unwatchable for me. I tried last night but I found myself flipping over to Survivor every 5 minutes (which I'm no great fan of).

Anonymous said...

Dog Crotch


"Don't try to ride them.

Some people try to ride them"

Nikki said...

I was glad to see Jim back at his old desk, but his decision that he's not management material seems a little facile. I guess he really has come to terms with being an office supplies salesman for the rest of his life? I know his priorities have changed, but it's still a little sad.

My attitude toward Andy/Erin has changed from indifference to active dislike. That also makes me sad, because I used to find Andy very funny.

JoeE said...

I do not like the Sabre plotline. At all. Part of what made the show work before for me was the fact that despite the generally off-kilter nature of the Scranton branch and Michael Scott, you had this stoic, realistic corporate culture in New York to sort of play straight man. By making Sabre just as goofy as Dunder Mifflin Scranton, I think the show has lost some of its grounding.

Ang said...

I decided after "Scot's Tots" that I was pretty well finished with this show. That ep was just painful and horrible, and not funny at all. It kind of pissed me off that the situation was played for laughs, actually. Michael being clueless and awkward is funny to me; Michael lying and ruining lives/dreams is not. (Also, pregnancy/baby/childbirth/kid storylines never ever fail to bore and annoy me.) But I did watch last night, and I was also disappointed that they didn't keep Michael as a salesperson for at least a couple of episodes. I miss the Jim/Dwight dynamic and pranks, though, so maybe we'll see that again.

And this may be off-topic, but is it realistic that a salesperson could make that much more than the boss? It seems to me that if the sales of the office are that good, the manager would get a bonus. I don't know; I've never worked sales, but it distracted me.

I think that maybe an end date would help, unless the writers have a plan to shake things up. I do wish we saw more of Toby, Kelly, Stanley, Creed, etc., etc. I think there's been too much focus on Jim and Pam, Andy and Erin.

Love the bits with the dogs really going at Andy's crotch. I had to pause it when Michael was talking about Camel and cigarettes because I was laughing so hard and gasping for breath. Loved Erin asking Jim if he wanted her to spin him around in the chair.

Anonymous said...

I agree that a lot of storylines seem to be resolved too quickly or just abandoned. It also feels a bit off that the Dwight/Ryan plotting went nowhere, though their self-congratulation was funny.

The Andy/Erin non-relationship, however, is an abomination that should be killed with fire.

Henry said...

I thought this episode was a step up from the more recent Office episodes, though I agree with the notion that they could've gotten a couple of episodes with Michael as the arrogant salesman. Andy/Erin shenanigans are wearing a little thin, but Ellie Kemper is so gorgeous and the character is so freakin' naive that it's hard not to root for the two of them.

Good jokes could be found in the margins, including how all the salespeople in Michael's area defend Phyllis about her smell (and I loved Andy's "I'm just expecting a nosebleed" line) and when Jim dunks Dwight's tie into his coffee.

Still not a great season so far...

njames said...

to Ang - Yes, salespeople can make more than their bosses. It's actually common. Part of it is a boss is comp'd (at least sometimes) by the performance of their salesforce; so while one person may excel, if the team isn't hitting their numbers, the bosses don't get comp'd as much. Also to some, being a manager is paying your dues to get higher in the company.

My company has performing salesmen making more than the sales managers

Anonymous said...

I want next season to be the final season.

Anonymous said...

there has been nothing funnier this season than michael and erin's collective reaction to keyboard bossanova, finger up and hand on hip..

Linus said...

The fact is that "The Office" started to run out of ideas years ago -- you could tell, as the show got wackier and wackier in its fourth season, with the kind of slapstick antics that used to be a minor undercurrent suddenly becoming its go-to ideas when it came to big punchlines. Remember when this was a comedy without punchlines? Me, too. That time is long gone.

If it wanted to avoid an inevitable decline, it probably should have packed it in years ago. NOW? It's too late. Might as well keep stringing it out, since they've already badly damaged the concept, characters, and execution.

Alison D said...

I think a lot of the dynamics that were core to The Office in its early days have changed fundamentally, and the show just hasn't caught up or adjusted. Michael is much sweeter and less offensive (maybe in the very early episodes he was too cruel, but a lot of the humour for years was derived by having this idiot in a position of real power over the staff - he's felt ineffectual, and patronised by his own staff, for a long time now). Jim and Pam used to be these people with potential trapped in dead-end jobs by their own slackness/lack of confidence. Their wicked prank-playing humour came in part from how much they despised the workplace they were stuck in. It was inevitable that they would grow as people, but frankly, them staying in the same jobs doesn't make sense given that. It's a dynamic which doesn't easily resolve, because the characters have moved on. I think it might have been interesting to mix up for a while - Micheal finding some freedom in just being a good, if havok-creating salesman, and Jim having to deal with the insanity of running Dunder Mifflin Scranton, particularly if Pam reverted back to prankster and time-waster.

Jordan said...

Agree with others. This isn't anything new. I normally am right there with most of watch Alan says. But he's big time late to the party in realizing that The Office is past it's freshness date. Not sure I'd still be watching it if not for the other Thurs night shows. But it is definitely the weak link in the Thursday night comedy line up now.

Number Five said...

It's definitely been at its weakest lately, but it's still worth watching. And people have made good points about the ratings - it's holding up the rest of the Thursday night block. The greater good!

I agree we should have seen more of Michael as salesman. But even if they wanted to keep it contained to this episode, there were better ways to have Michael realize he prefers to be a manager - like if he couldn't call an impromptu staff meeting, or give out some award. But it's just Phyllis' smell and his office?

I'm actually impressed at how much of Erin's total space cadet character has shown through in fairly limited screen time. Compared to Meredith, Kelly, etc, we don't have as many biographical details, but she's about as fleshed out as they are.

Speaking of that, I agree one weakness has been the lack of secondary characters recently. Where has Kelly been? Her copier double entendre to Andy was the funniest part of the episode. Or the accountants? Or Phyllis/Stanley?

Tyroc said...

Maybe just because I love the characters so much, but I thought it was a great half hour of television. Funny, sweet, smart, goofy.

Was it the best episode of all time? Nah. But a solid episode in a top notch show.

Anonymous said...

I haven't liked this season compared to previous seasons, but this was my favorite episode so far this year.

Ant$ said...

what Tolkien references??

Blue said...

Dang, how can they have that whole bit about "did you see Saw" and Ryan having to explain to Dwight what the movie is...

when DWIGHT DRESSED UP AS JIGSAW/BILLY FOR HALLOWEEN.

*facepalm*

Trilby said...

There were definitely moments to savor in this episode. Kathy Bates is great, I think. I love her two dogs attached by their noses to Andy's crotch-- they love a good crotch! The Phyllis stink and Michael's non-PC reaction to it? OMG, it looked like his eyelashes were curling... I loved Kathy Bates actually. Telling Angela to sit down, she wasn't getting married, just choosing a seat, chop-chop, li'l onion! Yeah, she was terrific. Telling the co-managers that they were just two people doing one job. Kelly, actually thinking of Andy as a possible suitor.... Ha! I enjoyed the hell out of it, actually. I'm going to watch that again.

Anonymous said...

If the Office isn't up to the (remembered) levels of the past, it's still fine comedy. Some of the stuff tonight was really good. I particularly like the comments that say how the show has dropped so much in quality, then the next sentence is "I was gasping for air since I was laughing so hard." Seems to me a pretty good recommendation for the show.

Anonymous said...

I agree and I also think HIMYM is having the same problem this year. We get a good episode and then we get a bunch of "eh" ones. HIMYM and the Office are they best shows on TV when the writing is hitting on all clyinders. Im just not feeling either one of them this year.

Imamarilyn said...

I feel "The Office" was at its best during seasons 1 and 2. But it is still one of the best shows ever. My favorite part was Dwight's reaction to learning it was Sa-ber, not Sah-bray. Priceless.

Brian said...

I'm still a fan and think they are doing good things yet. Two points based off stuff I read.

1. I'm glad they moved Jim back to a salesman. He works best in that role but it helps all the tension between him and Dwight. Also, with Jim as the boss it wouldn't make sense if Dwight kept trying to usurp his authority and not have Jim respond to it. Also, the Dwight tries to do things and Jim discovers it was getting too Wily E. Coyote-ish. Now they are back to a more antagonistic role towards each other where Dwight has been able to have a little more success against Jim.

2. I know people think it might be best for the show to create an end date and go off after next season but that is just not happening. NBC already is going to have a mess at the end of this season and next season trying to rebuild the 10 pm block. There is a 5% chance(I'd say 0, but this is NBC and they redefine crazy) they create a hole in their 9 pm block with one of their most popular shows. Also, look at the ratings for it. This past Thursday in the 18-49 demo the show pulled a 3.7 rating and had 7.4 million viewers. 30 Rock was 2.9 with 6.1 million. Parks and Rec had a 2.3 with 5 million viewers and Community hit a 2.3 with 5.3 million viewers. Taking out The Office would create a pretty substantial hole in the middle of that block. Also, 30 Rock would lose a huge lead-in as their quirky sense of writing does not connect with a larger audience like The Office does.

Just way too many reasons for NBC to hold onto this show.